I finished my teaching credential program nigh three decades ago, so returning to school as a graduate student has taken some getting used to. Admittedly, back in March, when our cohort began focusing on our initial driving question for my action research paper, "The Effects of Digital Tools on Developing Literacy Skills in Middle School Students, and their Impact on Acquiring Language Arts Common Core State Standards" the fear of failure motivated me to choose a topic familiar to me, a topic where I could feel confident, thus increasing the likelihood of my success--something simple. Bullet-proof. The process resulted in my writing "The Effects of Digital Tools on Developing Literacy Skills in Middle School Students, and their Impact on Acquiring Language Arts Common Core State Standards."
So...first, what would address a common core standard, and second, how could that be measured in a way that would produce compelling, measurable results, and third what would reduce the likelihood of the whole thing going kaflooey?
Using a recommendation from a colleague, I choose to use a Chrome extension called “Grammarly” as a means of helping my students check their compositions for errors in mechanics--spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, word choice. This decision to use Grammarly seemed to address those three concerns.
The research paper that resulted from this led into the second phase of the graduate program, where we, ourselves, were introduced to and explored individually and collaboratively, other online, Web 2.0, digital tools. Drawing from these experiences, I have focused on identifying and exploring online digital tools that address the standards we are expected to cover with our students.